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Oliveira R.B.S.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Oliveira R.B.S.,Environmental Health Evaluation and Promotion Group | Baptista D.F.,Environmental Health Evaluation and Promotion Group | Mugnai R.,Environmental Health Evaluation and Promotion Group | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2011

We developed a multimetric index based on macroinvertebrates to assess ecological condition of wadeable streams in Rio de Janeiro State, southeast Brazil. To do so we used a set of 12 reference and 12 severely impaired sites sampled in the summer wet season as calibration sites. Nine metrics were selected based on their abilities to distinguish between reference and impaired sites and their independence from other metrics. Metrics retained in the final index were: family richness; Trichoptera family richness; Shannon family diversity; % Plecoptera individuals; % Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) individuals; % mollusk and Diptera individuals; % shredder individuals; proportion Chironomidae/Diptera individuals; and proportion Hydropsychidae/ Trichoptera individuals. The final 9 metrics were standardized; then the Guapiau-Macau Multimetric Index (GMMI) was calculated, yielding a final index score ranging from 0 to 100. We validated the index through use of 19 sites subject to different levels of impairment, sampled both in summer and in winter. Our final multimetric index distinguished well between different levels of impairment and was strongly correlated with other disturbance measures. Temporal stability was also tested through use of 8 sites that were sampled in both seasons, and results showed no significant changes in the index final score among seasons. Our research represents one of the first initiatives in Brazil to develop a multimetric index for use in a spatially extensive bioassessment program extending across substantial natural and disturbance gradients. It can be a useful tool to help conserve streams in Atlantic forest conservation areas. We suggest that the methodology established here offers a foundation for similar index development and assessments in Brazil. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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